by Akan Ido
The Bi-Courtney Group, has registered its displeasure at the conduct of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) who have reportedly laid siege on the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, Lagos, where its Chairman, Wale Babalakin is receiving treatment for an undisclosed ailment.
The construction firm’s spokesman, Dipo Kehinde, says the action of the EFCC is contrary to the directive of the court barring the anti-graft agency from arresting the embattled businessman.
The EFCC, however, explained that Babalakin is under surveillance to ascertain the nature of his ailment on which premise he refused to appear in court last Thursday for arraignment.
Reports say about 20 plain-clothed EFCC operatives are stationed at the medical facility to ensure that the businessman does not somehow make his way out of the country to avoid prosecution.
A source said, “The EFFC operatives, initially, resisted the hospital’s security staff and attempted to force their way into Babalakin’s ward, leading to a face-off that lasted till about 1am this morning.”
According to Bi-Courtney’s Kehinde, he said, “This is a new trend in judicial administration in Nigeria and it reflects the desperation by the EFCC to violate provisions of the law and constitution in order to circumvent justice, and a violation of the basic human rights of the citizen.
“It is noteworthy that this brings back sad memories of the days of the late Gen. Sani Abacha, when the rights of Nigerians were trampled upon with ease.”
The EFCC on its part does not appear to see anything wrong with its conduct. According to the commission’s spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, he said, “We have placed him under surveillance in order to carry out an instruction from the court. EFCC is to verify his hospitalisation and also make sure that he is present in court at the next adjourned date. Nobody is disturbing his treatment.”
The chief medical director of LUTH, Prof. Akin Osibogun denied the presence of security operatives around the ward where Babalakin was on admission or around the hospital.
Osibogun reportedly said,“I have not seen any security operatives around my patients ward and if they are in plain clothes I would also not know; but we work with law enforcement agents from time to time.
“I have not received any detaining order for him. So, nobody so far has interfered with the management of our patien,” he said.